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Release Human Rights Defender Prabhat Singh

4.4.16

Release Human Rights Defender Prabhat Singh



Mr. Shri Nanredra Damodardas Modi
Prime Minister of India

Prime Minister’s Office

Room number 152
South Block

New Delhi

India
Your Excellency,
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.
On 26 March 2016, the Chief Judicial
Magistrate (CJM) in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, denied release on bail for
human rights defender Mr Prabhat Singh and referred him to judicial
custody in Jagdalpur Central Jail, pending investigation into his case.
He has been held in detention since his arrest without warrant on 21
March 2016.
Prabhat Singh is a human rights
defender and journalist, reporting for Patrika newspaper on the
situation in the tribal region of Bastar. During the past three months,
he has been reporting on allegedly false cases brought against tribal
villagers in the areas of Chhattisgarh affected by an insurgency by
Maoist groups. He has also reported on harassment of and attacks on
human rights defenders and journalists in the region. He has been a
strong critic of the Chhattisgarh police and has played a key role in
highlighting several cases of police brutality and involvement in human
rights violations in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. Prabhat
Singh has also played a vital role in organising peaceful protests and
discussions devoted to the drafting and implementation of a law that
would ensure the independence and security of journalists reporting from
areas affected by the Maoist conflict in Bastar.
On 26 March 2016, Prabhat Singh’s
request for bail was denied at a court hearing at the CJM in Jagdalpur.
The Court also refused an application by the police for the extension of
Prabhat Singh’s police custody and ordered the human rights defender to
be sent to the Jagdalpur Central Jail, where he will remain in judicial
custody at least until the next court session on 13 April 2016. The
police will be required to report on the investigation’s progress at
this session, and the Court will then decide on whether to release
Prabhat Singh from judicial custody. A medical report was produced
before the judge during the hearing, stating that no injuries had been
discovered during a prior examination of the human rights defender.
Prabhat Singh opposed the report, claiming that he had never been
examined by a doctor and had been forced to sign the report. The judge,
however, did not take his objections into account.


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